EDITORIAL: Chronic complaint

Fraser Health Authority review suggests care improvements won't happen all the while underfunding continues

The recent lengthy – and often delayed – review of Fraser Health Authority has suggested some worthwhile aims and objectives.

However, given the minister of health’s belief Fraser Health’s budget is adequate, don’t expect a lot of improvements in health care any time soon.

The review’s main conclusion is that acute-care hospitals are utilized more than they need to be by residents. Hence costs keep rising – given that acute care is far and away the most expensive type of care offered.

Why are people in the Fraser Health region – including those who consider Peace Arch Hospital their own – going to acute care so often? In many cases, it’s because they don’t have a family doctor. Population growth and a limited number of general practitioners mean that at least one-third of the population do not have anyone in the health system who sees them regularly, knows them by name or has a good handle on their medical issues.

Others have a chronic condition for which there is no option aside from acute care. The review notes the value of setting up clinics that specialize in treating people with certain conditions, or are part of certain groups. Unfortunately, only nine per cent of the FHA budget goes towards community care – with 57 per cent going to acute care.

Some people in acute care are awaiting admission into long-term care. While many new facilities have been built in the region, most are for-profit, within the private sector, and thus unaffordable for many. The number of beds subsidized by the province is limited, and consequently hospitals are unnecessarily plugged.

There are also limited mental-health services available, despite 17 per cent of the adult population and 14 per cent of the youth population struggling with mental illness.

NDP critic Judy Darcy points out that Fraser Health gets 28 per cent of the overall spending on health in B.C., yet is home to 36 per cent of the population.

The fact that specialist hospitals such as BC Children’s are in Vancouver offers only a partial explanation for this discrepancy.

Looking at the review, it’s hard not to reach the conclusion that this region has been chronically underfunded in health services for a long, long time.

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Parliament Hill is shown in Ottawa on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. The Trudeau government has agreed with the Senate that Canadians suffering solely from grievous and irremediable mental illnesses should be entitled to receive medical assistance in dying — but not for another two years. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick photo)
Self-advocates ‘sad, scared, angry’ over revisions to assisted-death legislation

Bill C-7 was expanded to include access to medically assisted death for non-terminal conditions

The South Point Exchange Wendy’s location was ordered closed for 10 days due to COVID-19. The closure took effect on April 9, 2021. (Google Streetview screenshot)
COVID-19 prompts 10-day closure of South Surrey fast-food restaurant

Fraser Health confirms order for South Point Wendy’s was issued April 9

Waterstock Properties is looking to build 114 residential units near 16 Avenue and 157 Street. (Urban Arts Architecture rendering)
Amendments sought for South Surrey apartment, townhouse project receive third reading

Residents, councillors speak for and against proposed density of Waterstock Properties’ 114-unit plan

Two women walk past ‘The Meeting’ sculptures in White Rock’s Miramar Plaza Wednesday afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)
New public art in White Rock draws criticism as the ‘two Michaels’ remain in China’s custody

‘I would encourage people to go out and enjoy it’ said Vancouver Biennale founder

Police barricade (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey RCMP investigate shooting overnight at Whalley motel

Sergeant Elenore Sturko said a 38-year-old man was taken to hospital suffering from a serious injury

A sea lion swims past the window of an empty viewing area Vancouver Aquarium is pictured Thursday, September 10, 2020. The Vancouver Aquarium has had to close its doors to the public due to the lack of visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
U.S.-based theme park company buys Vancouver Aquarium

Aquarium had to shut its doors in September due to COVID pandemic

A man wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
COVID-19 spike in B.C. could overwhelm B.C. hospitals: modelling group

There are 397 people are in hospital due to the virus, surpassing a previous high of 374 seen in December

A deep cut on a humpback whale is shown in this recent handout photo in the Vancouver area. A conservation organization is warning boaters to be extra careful to prevent further harm to an injured humpback whale swimming in the Vancouver area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Ocean Wise, Vanessa Prigollini *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Boaters urged to use caution around hurt humpback off Vancouver

Ocean Wise says watchers first noticed the wound 3 days ago and believe it was caused by a vessel strike

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Ron Rauch and his wife Audrey are photographed at their home in Victoria, Friday, March 5, 2021. Their daughter Lisa Rauch died on Christmas Day 2019 when a tactical officer with the Victoria Police Department shot her in the back of the head with plastic bullets after barricading herself in a room that was on fire. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. families push for changes as special committee examines provincial Police Act

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth acknowledged the need to update the legislation last year

Major-General Dany Fortin, left, looks on as Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. The Public Health Agency of Canada has set aside up to $5 billion to pay for COVID-19 vaccines. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada negotiating contracts to secure COVID-19 booster shots for next year: Anand

Most of Canada’s current vaccine suppliers are already testing new versions against variants

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Most Read